More often than not, the standard practice used to motivate employees is to provide them with monetary rewards. Employees are almost always promised bonuses or raises for their hard work, and in the past, it seemed to be all that was needed to successfully motivate them. However, times have changed. Millennial employees are now looking for different motivational tactics that help add value to the workplace as a whole. Many of which are non-monetary initiatives. Here are some non-monetary ways to keep your employees motivated and happy.
Lead by Example
The phrase “practice what you preach” should always be applied when running a business. When your employees see you act in a way that goes against how you are asking them to act, it is easy to quickly lose their respect.
Employees that don’t have respect for their leader are generally less likely to go the extra mile for them, resulting in a loss of motivation. For example, as the business owner, if you encourage employees to stay late to get the job completed, but you leave early or right at closing time, your employees may begin to question why they have to stay late but you don’t.
On the other hand, if you explain how the extra hours help to achieve the company’s overall business goals, and then you stay and work alongside your employees, your employees will follow suit. Employees are motivated by a leader who puts in the hard work alongside their team. Remember, this applies to more than just putting in long hours. Anything you are asking of your employees, you should be doing as well.
Encourage a Collaborative Environment
There is a reason why people like playing team sports so much. Each member of the team brings something different to the table, and when everyone’s talents are combined, it makes the team even stronger. When employees work together to accomplish a goal, it helps build camaraderie.
Fostering an environment focused on teamwork will not only help to motivate your employees, but it can help your employees to grow. You want your employees to collaborate on projects to allow them to showcase their strengths, while also improving their weaknesses by learning from others.
When creating a collaborative environment, it is important that you do not micromanage your employees. A business that encourages employees to collaborate on projects will do best when also allowing them to execute their ideas. When you show your employees that you trust them to handle the tasks at hand, you will begin to build their trust, confidence, and further motivate them to do a great job. However, if you tell your employee exactly how to do the job, how not to do the job, and then check on them every step of the way, you remove all motivation for them to take an active role in their work.
Recognize and Reward
Who doesn’t like to be recognized for the work that they do? Everyone enjoys a pat on the back, a sincere ‘thank you’, and recognition. When you are looking to further motivate your employees, an employee recognition program can go a long way. The best way to develop a program like this is with input straight from the source – your employees. You need to know what matters to them.
Many employers are surprised to hear that their employees would rather have an afternoon off than a financial reward. After establishing possible rewards, you then need to develop very specific goals and requirements to getting those rewards. If employees don’t know exactly what is expected out of them, they will lose interest in trying to earn the reward.
There are many ways to recognize employees within your organization. Here are a few non-monetary options:
- If your whole team is working hard to complete a project and have been pulling long hours, cater in a lunch. Make sure it is a step up from pizza. Pull everyone together to thank them for their work and effort. If there are a few employees that have been acting as a lead, take the time to thank them in front of the group.
- Send individual thank you emails to your employees. Make sure it is personalized and that it speaks to the specific contributions that they themselves made.
- Get together with your staff and set some big goals and then allow them to come up (within limits) of what rewards they will earn when they reach the goals.
Promote from Within
Employees like working for companies that promote from within. A survey conducted by Blessingwhite found that over a quarter of employees think about leaving a company if it lacks career development. Employees don’t necessarily want to jump ship and leave a company, but that might be the only option if they don’t feel that they can advance their career at that company. If you want to keep your employees happy, start promoting from within.
This process also motivates employees to work harder. When an employee knows that the company works to move good employees up into new positions, they are more likely to work hard in the hopes of getting a promotion.
There are many ways to motivate employees and build a happier work environment without just using monetary rewards. If you do nothing else, make sure you thank your employees consistently and sincerely for all of their efforts.